It just may have been the worst thing that could have happened to Cross. If he had just won one or two awards, few would have paid much notice.
The moment of Christopher Cross' greatest glory was also his undoing. It happened at the 23rd annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 25, 1981. Cross was nominated for six awards --and won five, including each of the "Big Four" awards -- album, record and song of the year plus best new artist. It is, to this day, the only time in Grammy history that one artist has swept the Big Four awards in the same year.
It just may have been the worst thing that could have happened to Cross. If he had just won one or two awards, few would have paid much notice. If he'd won best new artist, he would have beaten critics' faves Pretenders, but critics were used to having their favorites lose in that category. Elvis Costello had lost to A Taste of Honey two years earlier. John Prine and Eagles lost to America in 1972. Elton John lost to Carpenters in 1970.
But Cross' undoing won everything. His eponymous debut album beat Pink Floyd's The Wall and Barbra Streisand's Guilty for album of the year. His serene ballad "Sailing" beat Frank Sinatra's "Theme from New York New York" in three categories -- record and song of the year and best arrangement accompanying vocalist(s).